The interminable saga of Maxwell and Sumter Streets, the Burch Avenue neighborhood and Brown's School House -- er, Duke University -- just could come to resolution tonight.
Believe it when you see it. This business has been on the City Council's docket since December.
But the parties involved may have reached an agreement they can live with. Duke wants the city to close the streets, both short, unpaved corridors between Buchanan Boulevard and Campus Drive running through university property that Duke wants to develop for its Smith Warehouse office complex.
The neighbors, though, wanted the streets to stay open because they provide an exit from the Burch Avenue area when Buchanan is blocked by trains, and because they form a potential pedestrian-bicycle corridor between Buchanan and West Durham.
At first, Duke assured the neighbors it would maintain public access to the streets. Then it changed its mind. Then it said maybe. Then someone wondered just what the law says. Hence the standoff, which has come before and been continued by the council numerous times already.
In July, the City/County Planning Department signed off on the proposal that comes up at the council meeting tonight -- 7 p.m. at City Hall, but the street closings are items 33 and 34 on a 37-item agenda. It would close the streets, automatically giving Duke title to their rights-of-way as the adjoining landowner. But, Duke would be required to provide unrestricted public access 24/7 and allow limited public access to its planned parking lots during special events in that part of town.
On paper, it looks like a plan that all sides can call a win. But, even in Durham, paper can be recycled.